Best Tool for Cutting Tree Branches

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Today, we’re talking all about the very best tool for cutting tree branches like a pro. But let’s be honest, no single tool is going to be able to cut every kind of tree branch, although that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

So maybe you’ve got some small twigs, a few branches here and there, or a 12″ wide tree limb hanging on for dear life 10 feet in the air.

These are all going to take very different, specific types of tree trimming tools to get the job done the right way

And that’s why I’m here writing this for you! 

By the end of this article, you should have a clear idea of what tree pruning tool you’re going to need for your job(s) (and I’ll even share some of my favorite tools and where you can find them).

Sound like a plan? Perfect.

Well then, let’s cut (no pun intended) straight to the good stuff:

7 Best Tools for Cutting Tree Branches Fast

Pruning Shears

Also called hand pruners, clippers, and secateurs, these types of tree pruning tools are great for cutting small twigs, branches, and bushes. They work well at clearing out dead foliage and doing light trimming work. But you’re not going to want to go after any big limbs with these babies unless you have hands of steel!

Typically, I recommend using bypass pruners over anvil pruners since they leave cleaner cuts and fewer chances for bruising the stems of whatever you’re cutting.

You can find hand pruners in a variety of different blade designs and constructions, such as carbon or stainless steel, and even some coated in titanium.

And you’ll be surprised to know (or maybe not that surprised) that companies are also starting to make electric pruning shears, so there’s always that option, as well!

My favorite pair of hand pruning shears (see availability on Amazon)

If a pair of hand gardening shears aren’t going to do the trick, then you may want to move onto a more heavy-duty option – the loppers!


Loppers are the big (and more powerful) brother to pruning shears. They have a larger cutting width and long handles so that you’re able to get the needed force behind the bigger branches you are trimming. 

They’re great at cutting any larger twigs or branches up to 2″ in diameter, but I’ve found you can usually cut branches bigger in size when you put just a little bit more muscle into it.

Just like pruning shears, loppers come in both anvil and bypass cutting designs and have a wide variety of handle lengths from 15″ all the way to 32″ long. 

My favorite loppers (see availability on Amazon)

Pruning Saw

The hand pruning saw is a workhorse for cutting tree branches that are 2″ to 4″ thick. This tool is absolutely perfect for those jobs that gardening shears can’t handle, but that doesn’t require the heavy firepower of a chainsaw. 

Hand pruning saws come equipped with serrated teeth for cutting live tree limbs and branches. They usually have a more ergonomic handle and feature a curved blade design which makes it ideal for hanging onto the branches while cutting.

Another popular variety is the folding hand pruning saw. This makes storage and safety super easy and convenient. 

The best pruning saw that I recommend (see availability on Amazon)

Pruning saws are a great tool to have in the tool shed, but sometimes your job is going to require something a little more heavy-duty, like the chainsaw!


Now we’ve come to the chainsaw; the most heavy-duty piece of tree trimming equipment that can literally cut (almost) any tree branch, limb or stump you’ve got to get rid of.

In my opinion, everybody needs a good chainsaw to fall back on, because you never know when you might need to get it out for the big jobs. 

While there’s a lot of different size chainsaws, a 16″ to 20″ bar length is perfect for the average homeowner that might need the cutting power for medium-sized jobs. 

There are also some good electric chainsaws that normally range from 14″ to 16″ for those of you who don’t want the hassle of gas-powered equipment. 

But if I had to recommend only one chainsaw to you, then this would be the one!

Pole Pruner

The pole pruner is great if you are trying to cut tree branches that are elevated in the air and you don’t want to risk having to climb a ladder, reaching, and risk falling off the dang thing. Not to mention, a lot of tree limbs that are higher up the tree tend to be thicker and not easy to cut with the tools mentioned above. 

You can think of a pole pruner like a pruning saw attached to a pole, because that’s essentially what it is. It comes with a curved blade design and sharp, serrated teeth. (A pole pruner that can reach 14ft in the air is usually enough for most jobs.)

Another added benefit is that most pole pruners come supplied with a chain and rope that power a lopper which is attached to head. This gives you the power of manual saw cutting action and the capability to lop off smaller branches that may need clean, quick cuts.

Pole Pruning Power Tip

It’s much easier to cut branches higher up by pulling back while cutting, rather than forward. This gives you more power and leverage and can result in quicker cutting. 

You can see one of my favorite pole pruners right here on Amazon

While having a manual saw on the end of a pole is great, but sometimes you’re just going to need to go the extra mile and spring for a powered pole saw! 

Pole Saw

The pole saw, a pinnacle piece of equipment if you want to get the job done of a professional, without having to call in the pros.

Unlike a pole pruner, the pole saw is going to be powered, which as you probably already know, makes the job of cutting so easy. And just as the name implies, it’s a dang saw on the end of a pole! 

Gas-powered pole saws are going to provide more power but also come with added maintenance. If you want a more maintenance-free option, then you can always look at battery-powered and electric pole saws.

See this electric pole saw that can reach up to 15ft and trims branches that are almost 8″ thick.

I know a pole saw might not be for everybody, but once you’ve used one, trust me when I say you will not go back. They make getting the job done quick and simple. 

Rope Saw

To preface this, I have never personally used a rope saw. Why you might ask? Simply because it seems like too much work, even though it’s a relatively lost cost solution. I’m including it here so you have the option, and who knows, maybe it’ll end up working out great for your situation! 

A rope saw is pretty cut and dry – saw teeth attached to a rope that you pull back and forth to trim off branches. 

While it appears they’ve been marketed as “pocket saws for outdoor survivalists and sportsmen”, a lot of people still use them as a super low-cost solution to cutting branches around the home. Sure, they’re going to take a little more effort on your part, but they can definitely still get the job done.

This rope saw has over 700+ reviews and is considered a best seller on Amazon

Choosing The Right Tree Trimming Tools for Your Job

Here in this article, I’ve provided you a lot of different options for tree trimming tools to consider, so I know you’re probably wondering which piece of equipment you should actually consider getting.

While it’s hard for me to give you an exact answer because every job and personal requirements are different, I’ll share my opinions on must-have set of tools for cutting tree branches that I believe you should consider getting:


1) Pruning shears – everybody needs a pair of these for cutting small branches, twigs and pruning shrubs and roses. 

2) Loppers – you should have a good pair of loppers for cutting any branches that are up to 2″ thick.

3) Chainsaw – it might seem overkill to some, but I think you should have a reliable chainsaw just in case you run into branches that are bigger than expected. Alternatively, you could opt for a pruning saw if you want to do it the manual way. 

4) Pole pruner – tree branches that need to be cut aren’t always on the ground level and easy to access, so I think it’s smart to have some type of tree trimming tool that can give you access into those harder to reach areas. A quality pole pruner always does the trick!

The Next Step

I hope this article was informative and helpful in sharing with you all the top tools for cutting tree branches, and gave you a better understanding of exactly which one(s) you may need. 

Leave a comment below

If you have any additional questions or want to just tell me about the next piece of tree trimming equipment you’re going to get, I’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below and I really look forward to talking with you! 

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